A little over a year ago, Shannon, had emailed this question to me. Following is her question and my reply that I sent her at the time. It still conveys how I feel about raw foods today. Thanks, Shannon, for the question.
"Hi, Loretta, I'm curious re: raw food. I understand the raw fruits and vegetables but how do you have a complete meal with raw food and be full? Do you include whole wheat bread as well? What kinds of meals would you have w/ raw food?"
I know when I first heard about raw food, that's exactly what I thought. I took me awhile to get up the courage to try anything raw that I normally would cook. So I started with things I already made and just made sure they were "more" raw. For example, my green smoothies in the morning. I would make sure I was only using fresh or frozen (uncooked) fruits, no cooked non-dairy milks (I actually make them with water now), and fresh greens. So smoothies are really easy.
Then I tried some raw soups. An easy one was gazpacho. It's already supposed to be cold and I love salsa, so I figured I couldn't go wrong there. Then I tried another cold soup. In my vitamix, I can "heat' soups, still under temp to keep the live enzymes. Anyway, it worked! I enjoy other raw foods that I never thought I would like.
Yes, you can get full on raw foods. Besides raw fruits and vegetables, some things people use: cold pressed oils (olive oil, etc.), herbs and spices (non-irradiated only) and there's also raw nuts and seeds and the nut butters made from them (think walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, etc.). Then besides this, raw foods also includes "breads and crackers" made from ground flax seeds, vegetables and other seasonings and sometimes sweeteners. A food dehydrator helps this to be possible. Many people, trying to do more raw, may find a food dehydrator to be a wise investment eventually.
There is no lack of good fats when doing more raw, to help with satiety. Besides the usual cold pressed oils (I use olive oil and coconut oil), there are nuts/seeds and also avocados. These are what we use to help make dairy substitutions as well. Cashews or sunflower seeds become nice and creamy in a blender with other ingredients for sauces.
If someone desires not to go vegan, but still be vegetarian and raw, there are still raw dairy options (non-pasteurized) usually locally that one can find. I do not advise eating eggs or meat in its raw form.
If you want to do more raw, you may still have whole wheat bread if you like (preferably home baked). We don't do 100% raw, so there are still some things I cook. We eat beans almost everyday in salads or soups or whatever dish I'm making. We are staying away from wheat/gluten at present to see if it will help us and our son specifically. I recently decided to lose a little extra weight and I think this actually helped me a lot. It's amazing how many foods have wheat, in some form, in the ingredients. And these are usually very processed.
A raw food meal. It could be as easy as a green smoothie (greens and fruit) and fresh fruit for breakfast (I usually have 2 cups, my husband has about 1 quart and our children also have some). Salads for dinner, including the dressing. Some people make their own sauerkraut and pickles (not canned ones) and that is another thing I am trying at home. There are other raw menus that you can make like soups and other things like pizza and pasta too. You just use other ingredients to emulate the crust and noodles. I have a special cutter that makes "noodles" out of vegetables (think about the county fair and how they make the spiral potato fries). I just use zucchini or other vegetable (I'm aiming to try sweet potato with it soon). Juicing vegetables are also an option that if done yourself is very good for you.
Fresh vegetables and nuts can be eaten for snacking. When we go out to eat, we often go to salad bars and load up on veggies and fresh fruit (if they have fresh fruit), and since we aren't 100% raw, some beans and olives. It's not raw, but most of the time, we use hot sauce as our dressing when eating meals out. I don't like the oil and vinegar options at most places and other pre-made dressings are non-vegan (like ranch and blue cheese) or are too sweet (think corn syrup) and preservative laden for me.
I have made raw "breads" and our family likes them. I even made a corn "tortilla" by using flax seeds and some frozen corn (I know that the corn this way, is not technically raw, but I use it right out of the bag and proceed without heating it further). I can't wait for fresh corn next summer though! =) Crackers are not hard to make if you have a dehydrator. Sweets are easy. Using our food processor we make truffles and raw cookies with nuts and dried fruit (think larabar type). Sometimes a date, with an almond tucked in, hits the spot for a sweet craving. Ice cream cravings are almost non-existent because we have creamy smoothies every morning.
I know that raw foods may seem limiting, but there are so many options, that I haven't even explored them all yet. We just aim to fully incorporate raw foods into our diet more than we have before. It's a good step and our children (ages 13 and 5), don't mind the ride at all. My 13 year old son is our most enthusiastic gardener! =)